Coal miner Alpha Natural Resources and its subsidiary Cumberland Coal Resources have recommenced production and lifted a force majeure at its Cumberland thermal coal mine in Greene County, Pennsylvania.
The company halted mining operations and coal shipments at Cumberland in July due to adverse geological conditions in the headgate area of the underground longwall mine.
Alpha president Paul Vining said during this period the mine maintained a reduced workforce which played a key role in bringing the longwall back into production.
"Safety will always take top priority for Alpha, and it was absolutely critical that we mitigate the adverse conditions before resuming mining operations.
"We maintained a reduced workforce of employees who did an outstanding job of focusing on safety first to return the Cumberland mine to operation," Vining added.
Alpha, which invoked force majeure in early August – a clause included in contracts that removes liability for natural and unavoidable events that would prevent companies from fulfilling contractual obligations – noted that the shutdown would affect output and increase its costs this year.
Initially, the mine was supposed to restart mining operations in the second half of August.
In 2012, Cumberland produced 6.4 million short tonnes of coal, which is a small percentage of company’s total sales of 108.8 million tonnes.
Alpha Natural Resources has mining operations in Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, Pennsylvania and Wyoming.
The company supplies metallurgical coal to the steel industry and thermal coal to customers on five continents.
For the second quarter ended 30 June, the company posted a net loss of $185.7m, against $2.23bn a year earlier, as the company booked about $2.5bn in impairment and restructuring charges.
Its revenue dropped to $1.34bn, as against $1.85bn in the corresponding period a year ago.
Image: Cumberland produced 6.4 million short tonnes of coal in 2012. Photo courtesy of Dan/Freedigitalphotos.net.